These two tweets sum up Boston's Round 1 playoff series to this point:

In three games this series, the Celtics have lost to the Cavs by 13 points, eight points and eight points again.  I think Boston played pretty well in all of them.

After each defeat I've seen people make a number of different comments and suggestions about which Celtics should and should not be in the lineup.

Bass needs to play more.  Bass needs to play less.  Zeller should get a bigger opportunity.  Zeller shouldn't be on the floor at all.  We need more Jerebko!  Why is Jerebko in the game?  Sullinger can't do anything.  Sullinger is the only guy who can rebound.

You get the point.

In Game 3 last night, Kelly Olynyk logged just three minutes.

After Game 1, I argued that Isaiah Thomas needed to play more.  Yesterday, Thomas saw only 21 minutes of floor time--and it was justified.  He scored just five points on 2-for-9 shooting (0-for-3 on threes).

At this point I'm willing to admit, I have absolutely no idea whether any Celtics should be playing more or less than any others.  I've been wondering all series if Stevens needs to tighten his lineups by shortening his rotation.  That's what normally happens in the playoffs.

But, this team does not have a normal roster.  Before Game 3, Stevens said he intended to continue to use his depth, because "that's what got us here."  I can't argue with that logic.  Stevens went 11-deep last night, and it almost worked.

Evan Turner (19 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) and Jae Crowder (16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) were Boston's best players yesterday.  They were each outstanding, and nearly led the C's to victory.  The trouble is, it's really hard to beat a quality NBA team in the postseason when your best players are Evan Turner and Jae Crowder.  The same would hold true no matter who it was that stepped up for the Celtics.

At the beginning of the season, ESPN.com ranked every NBA player from 1-500.  LeBron James was No. 1, Kevin Love checked in at No. 7 and Kyrie Irving landed at No. 23.  The highest current Celtic on the list?  Isaiah Thomas at No. 67.  Avery Bradley was the second-highest at No. 109.  Turner and Crowder ranked 220 and 247, respectively.

This Boston team has shown incredible heart and toughness to hang with the Cavs in three competitive games so far.  Could the C's have won one?  Sure.  Maybe even two.  But from a talent standpoint, they should have been blown out in all three.

Sometimes there's just no answer that's within your control.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan

Mark Van Deusen 4/24/2015 09:34:00 AM Edit
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